In assessing quarterback Trevor Lawrence through five games this season, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says the sophomore has played well.
Though some think Lawrence has gotten off to a slow start this year, he has thrown for 1,131 yards, while completing nearly 62 percent of his passes. He is averaging 8.3 yards per attempt, which is the same as last year’s average.
The one number everyone looks at is Lawrence’s five interceptions. He threw just four in the 15 games he played in last season. However, he has gone his last six quarters without a tossing one, and remembered he played in just one quarter against Charlotte.
Lawrence has also used his legs a lot more, which he has not received as much credit for. He rushed for a career-high 45 yards at North Carolina last week and has four rushing touchdowns already this season. He ran for just three touchdowns in 2018.
“He has played well,” Swinney told The Stadium’s Brett McMurphy earlier this week. “Through the first four games, we scored more points and had more yards than any opening four-game stretch in the history of Clemson football. In a couple of those games he did not play a whole lot.”
Swinney was especially impressed with how Lawrence handled last week’s win at North Carolina. He was not playing his best, and neither was the team, but the young quarterback kept his poise in crunch time. He led the Tigers on a game-tying score in the final seconds before halftime and then later led the offense on a touchdown drive that turned out to the winning points.
Lawrence was responsible for both touchdowns, a 3-yard run with 33 seconds left before halftime and then a 38-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins that gave the Tigers a 21-14 lead with 9:54 to play.
“I thought on the road the other night, it was great to see him respond,” Swinney said. “If you think about it, Trevor has had zero adversity since he came to Clemson. So, this is the first game he had a really adverse situation in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.
“It was good to see. I thought he was very gutsy. I thought he showed great leadership.”
Lawrence finished the game 18 of 30 for 206 yards and ran the ball for 45 yards on 11 carries. Several times, he extended plays and drives with his legs, either running the ball or avoiding a sack and finding his open receivers down the field.
“He did not play his best game. He missed on a couple of plays,” Swinney said. “But you find out a little bit when it is not a perfect day, and he has not had that (at Clemson). I thought his leadership was great. He made a couple of tough runs. I think it was something I haven’t seen yet. I haven’t seen him in a game, with it on the line and in the fourth quarter to this point, and he has been here for 20 games.”
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